1. Historic District Signage
2. National Register Education & Protection
3. Sidewalk Installation & Maintenance Plan
4. Tree Commission Support
5. Utility Lines Undergrounding
6. Rubber sheeting
7. New Building Inspector & Building Department
8. National Landmark Status
9. Archeological Ordinance
10. Public Restriction Tract Index
11. Local Historic District Expansion
I have had several preservationists who have complained about the possible confusion between a National Register historic district and a local historic district as if somehow we must hide the former so the latter can become a reality. The truth is, you’ll never see a local historic district unless the Register is fully understood by the general public nor will you receive a consensus (necessary in our society) to protect our great city unless the entire community is on board. Hiding in a cave, or whispering in public will only embolden those who have Arlington, or Burlington or Danvers or Peabody or heaven forbid, Haverhill as their ‘dream’ reality for Newburyport. (Ugh to them all!)
That’s why I push it so hard on my blog – we need to proclaim it from the housetops of the city for its positive impact and to avoid the damage to our community if we fail!
That’s why I encourage the armchair preservationist to get boned up on the foundational details so you can avoid doing more harm than good when you open your mouth or work toward preserving the city. That is also why I have outlined the points as to the power of the National Register:
I revealed how gaining a National Register designation is the foundation for huge benefits and the springboard to many types of preservation. I demonstrated how important the ‘contributing’ designation is. Then I continued by showing all the exemptions from costly construction that are available. I revealed that developers and many building owners inside the District may be able to receive exemptions from the stringent Building Codes that will save thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars. I showed the tremendous savings that the National Register can provide in reducing taxes. Then I exposed the deliberate campaign over the years to hide the National Register from the citizens of Newburyport. Then I revealed the hidden hurt that potentially lies within the Register. And finally, I showed, by using the National Register, what will be necessary to get the Demolition-Control Overlay District (DCOD) to actually preserve historic buildings.
Signage is good, education is good and teaching is great; but we also need a presence culturally, socially and politically. Preservation is no good if it is not part of our culture. Preservation is no good if it is never brought up in public. And preservation will be powerless unless it has influence politically.
Volunteers need to influence – through signs on our houses and streets, events though fundraisers, Preservation Week, seminars, etc. And volunteers need to make their presence known in City Hall, with city councilors and on volunteer boards and commissions and through political campaigns.
All that knowledge on the National Register demands the shaping of public policy.
“The truth is, you’ll never see a local historic district unless the Register is fully understood by the general public nor will you receive a consensus (necessary in our society) to protect our great city unless the entire community is on board.”